Structures are easy to erect as members can be easily assembled, disassembled and replaced. This makes structural steel one of the most recycled material on our planet – today’s structural steel is made of 88 per cent recycled product, is fully recyclable in the future and can be reused without further processing thus creating minimal raw material wastes. The steel industry continues to innovate for both the material and the use of structural steel, says, Samir Rastogi & Vineet Khanna, Partners, Space Ace Architects & Planners
What are the major advantages of using steel vis-à-vis conventional materials?
Steel is a highly durable metal. Steel structures have a good load carrying capacity and a high strength to weight ratio. This makes steel much lighter when compared to other building materials and provides it with the ability to withstand external pressures such as earthquakes and thunderstorms.
Another very desirable quality of steel is its versatility. It can be rolled, cut and turned into a variety of sizes and shapes without changing its composition or physical property. Offsite fabrication does marvels for the architecture industry as it allows the project architect a greater degree of expression and creativity in their design than most other construction materials. Steel is therefore often exposed in the design of structures to emphasize grace, slenderness, strength and transparency of frame. Steel also enhances construction productivity. Structures are easy to erect as members can be easily assembled, disassembled and replaced. This makes structural steel one of the most recycled material on our planet – today’s structural steel is made of 88 per cent recycled product, is fully recyclable in the future and can be reused without further processing thus creating minimal raw material wastes. The steel industry continues to innovate for both the material and the use of structural steel.
How can structural steel be innovatively used in construction to provide design aesthetics and at the same time offer economical solution?
Structural steel allows the designers a greater degree of expression and creativity in their design due to its easy fabrication. Structural steel sections can modify to create non-linear members to enhance the aesthetic appeal of the structure. No other framing material comes close to when it comes to innovativeness, freedom of expression and design creativity. It provides for an opportunity for column-free, large span structures with the prospect of natural lighting.
In comparison, structural steel enhances the value of a project in terms of construction productivity, initial cost as well as reduces costs in other areas such as transportation, foundations, general conditions, and facade systems. Workmanship in steel is very easy and the methodology can easily be transferred to a skilled fabricator for any artistic development through sampling, training and reproduction. Steel buildings optimize building space efficiency through the use of slender columns maximizing useable floor space, longer spans for open, column-free spaces and the integration of HVAC systems into structural spaces allowing reduction of floor-to-floor heights. An existing steel frame can also be easily modified to address changing building requirements and uses.
What is your take on the variety of sections/grades provided by our steel producers for various demands of creativity?
Today in India we are very creative with how we build and construct steel. Each steel shape has its unique structure in addition to ways that they are utilized. These shapes serve as tools to help us to construct anything anywhere. There is a full variety of shapes to choose from depending on the need.
For example, the tee beam is best utilized as a load-bearing beam. It has a T-shaped cross section, which allows for large loads to be carried appropriately. The bearing piles (H-Shaped) are designed to create a deep foundation system. L-Shaped angel beams are best utilized in floor systems with building foundations because their L shape provides great stability. I-Beams allow for perfect bending capabilities when necessary. Steel profiles come in a variety of shapes. Hollow Steel Section beams can be circular, rectangular, square, or elliptical. With the diverse options in shapes, this allows for builders to use HSS beams for projects that require loading in a variety of directions. These sections can also be combined easily by welding to form new composite sections. Construction professionals and engineers strive to make sure they are always finding the best possible methods to use.
What trend are we going to witness in the next 5-7 years, as far as designing with steel is concerned?
Steel construction is becoming more and more popular in India today. Steel is mostly being used for structures such as bridges and airports but slowly people are realising its potential. Over the next few years, with rapid urbanisation, steel structures should hopefully become more widespread. The many advantages of steel structures enable us to be able to build vertically and achieve greater heights and at the same time horizontally achieving greater spans. Steel construction is also much faster, which is a big necessity for our growing population. It is also less polluting due to its prefabrication and fast assembly.
Steel will always remain an evolving material from mega structures to the welder in your colony. New machinery and new tools will further improve the expression and quality of steel fabrication. Whether it be for enormity in high-rises or compactness in modular units, steel construction is an eco-friendly step that needs to be taken.